The White House’s best chance to get Obama’s immigration efforts back on track may lie with the Supreme Court, which issued a 5-3 ruling in 2012 backing strong discretion for the federal government in immigration enforcement. (Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from that decision but seems likely to back Obama in the latest fight.)

The current dispute could wind up at the high court on an emergency basis within days, but administration officials were not specific about whether they will immediately demand that Obama’s immigration actions be allowed to resume.

“We are still in the process of looking at the opinion and trying to decide what steps we might take next,” Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters at the National Press Club Tuesday. “We have to look at this decision for what it is: it is the decision by one federal district court judge. I expect—have always expected that this is a matter that will ultimately be decided by a higher court, if not the Supreme Court then a federal court of appeals….This, I would view as an interim step in a process that has more to play out.”